A new study found that humans are the world’s ‘superpredators’ but they also have a serious sustainability issue. Researchers explained that our species not only hunts down the fiercest predators out there but it does it at an alarming rate and in a completely devastating manner for all species.
Scientists analyzed over 2,000 types of interactions between hunters and the hunted and revealed that men hunt down other predators regardless of their location (sea, land, or air) in a way that challenges those populations’ survivability. The research team explained that too often other predators are not allowed to recover so they go extinct.
Chris Darimont of the University of Victoria and lead author of the study explained that our “predatory dominance” may have long term effects on our own survivability. On the other hand, researchers were optimistic. They believe that we may survive if we learn from the predators that we recklessly hunt down.
Researchers noted that human beings have a unique ability of learning and consciously adjusting their behavior to eliminate the nefarious consequences of their actions. They also said that such ability may help us continue to coexists with the wildlife population be it on land or in the sea.
Study authors explained that world’s top carnivores have only humans are their natural enemy. Yet, that brought many of them on the verge of extinction. For instance, some bears, lions, and tigers may soon vanish because of poaching, sport hunting, global warming, or a combination of these.
Researchers noted that many ancient animals like woolly mammoths and giant sloths started vanishing by the time humans were reported to enter their natural habitat.
During their study, the team first analyzed how much of their prey natural hunters hunt every year. Next they compared the numbers with how much human hunters use to hunt every year.
The data showed that humans hunt sea fauna 14 times more the amount other marine predators do, while on land humans were killing other predators at a pace that is nine times higher than the rate those predators eliminated each other.
Darimont acknowledged that the results shocked the team. He also said that other predators eliminate each other out of survival-related reasons such as territory and females. Yet, humans kill other predators for fun (sport hunting) or to make money (poaching, industrial fishing), researchers noted.
Scientists believe that humans should get the trophy for the world’s superhunters because they were able to specialize in hunting down and killing other predators 3.7 times the rate at which they eliminate non-carnivores. Human hunters seemingly find pleasure in turning natural hunters into their prey.
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